‘Ferrari certainly have the fastest engine at the moment’ – Perez

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Ferrari have leapt ahead of the competition with their latest Formula 1 power unit, Sergio Perez believes, after the team took first and third on the grid for the season-opening race.

They were backed up by their customer teams Alfa Romeo and Haas, whose highest qualifiers took sixth and seventh on the grid respectively.

“We can clearly see that the Ferrari has a really strong engine,” said Perez. “Their customer teams really look strong out there.”

“They certainly have, I’d say, the fastest engine at the moment,” he added. “But things can swing around pretty quick.”

Pole-winner Charles Leclerc said their 066/7 engine was a clear improvement over last year’s power unit, which the team introduced an upgrade for as recently as last September in Sochi. “I haven’t seen the data yet but it definitely feels better than last year and it’s a step in the right direction,” said Leclerc.

“Obviously, Haas and the Alfa shows that we’ve made a step forward but it’s not to underestimate also the work that they’ve done because they were also very quick in corners. I think it’s a combination of both the car and the engine.

“But speaking of ourselves, it’s definitely a step forward and we look quite strong in the straights now so it’s good to see this.”

“We cannot underestimate obviously the progress done on the power unit side,” agreed his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr. “So just a big thank you and a great job to everyone on the power unit department because for sure it’s helping also the other teams.”

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Ferrari’s power unit was noted for its performance in 2019 but the team fell under the scrutiny of the FIA that year. At the beginning of 2020 the governing body announced it had reached a private agreement with the team, introduced new restrictions on power unit design, and Ferrari’s form suddenly slumped.

It began to recover last year, and made a significant gain with the upgrade it introduced in Russia. This was not made available to Haas or Alfa Romeo before the end of last year, making their gains this weekend even more pronounced.

However Sainz says the team can’t afford to relent with its development push after Max Verstappen split its cars on the grid. His Red Bull uses an ex-Honda power unit now branded by the team’s new Powertrains division.

“We need to keep pushing, because it’s not like Max was slow in the straights at all or the Mercs,” said Sainz. “So we need to keep pushing on that front.

“But at least this year it looks like we’ve done another step in the right direction, and it’s good to see from the engine department.”

Haas driven Kevin Magnussen agreed “it’s pretty clear they’ve made a good step with with this engine” after qualifying seventh, the team’s best starting position for three years.

“That’s what we need,” he continued. “You can have a good car but if the engine isn’t there, then you’re still having a tough time. So that’s such a good job from Ferrari to make that step.”

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2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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19 comments on “‘Ferrari certainly have the fastest engine at the moment’ – Perez”

  1. Nice to see another team in the front running

  2. Which means you need to push harder on the corners like Max does Checo. Ferrari may have the power but you and Max have Adrian Newey!

  3. I am not so sure about it. F1 has published a video with side-to-side comparison of Leclercs and Verstappens laps and it looked like Leclerc was loosing on straights and basically made all the time on Verstappen in last corner.

    1. @raqua Mark Hughes mentioned that Ferrari put more wing in after practice. The Ferrari engine performance in quali was more visible out of the corners.

      1. The way things are now I bet Charles will get Pole in Monaco as well.

      2. @wsrgo
        Yes, the Ferrari is better than the Honda on acceleration. Up to about 270 kph the Ferrari is better, but after that the RB accelerates more and ends up faster at the end of the straight.
        It could be down to wing levels as Mark Hughes suggested, but also to ERS deployment. I noticed the Haas was the only Ferrari-powered car to make it into the top 10 in the speed trap figures at the end of the start/finish straight (P7 and 8), but was still about 5 kph down on both RBs.
        Unless all Ferrari-powered cars ran more wing in qualy, I’d say it’s possible that they held something back in terms of battery power, possibly due to reliability reasons (Ferrari had some reliability issues on the dyno, particularly when the PU had done a lot of mileage, above 3,000 km). But that’s just a speculation from my side.

  4. RB should look into their cars losing weight then.

  5. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    20th March 2022, 9:02

    If Perez is correct then the only thing that can change is the ERS from now until September. The ICE is frozen for performance.

    1. But there is more then the ice to develop. I thought it was a complete freeze (except reliability and software)

    2. @andyfromsandy
      The ICE, Turbocharger, MGU-H, Engine Exhaust System, Fuel and Oil were all homologated in March the 1st and will be frozen till the end of 2025. The MGU-K, Energy Store and Control Electronics must be homologated by September the 1st, 2022 and will also be frozen till the end of 2025.

      Ferrari opted last year to start the season with the ES and MGU-K of 2020. They upgraded to the new system in Sochi on Leclerc’s car and then in Turkey with Carlos which was a significant step forward and enabled them to take 3rd in the WCC. This year apparently they will follow the same strategy to homologate the MGU-K,ES and CE in the last possible date for more development before the freeze comes into play.

      1. As Honda is only servicing engines now does this mean no such research and update is possible for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri?

  6. “the fastest engine at the moment”…Is he aware that the ICE is freezed from march 1th til 2025? The only modification allowed are on the electrical part expiring in september

  7. Davethechicken
    20th March 2022, 9:37

    New season, new cars, new subject for Red Bull to whine about.

    1. Well at least you started :)

      1. If Ferrari has the stronger engine, then RB has the stronger car. In total RB has the fastest race package currently, as we will see today.

        1. I believe we saw otherwise :)

  8. After 2019 could this be the year?
    It’s still very early days but what happened last year it got me thinking if this season will be Charles vs Max. Charles’ championship would do a big favor for F1 not just because he is driving for Ferrari but if Max will win the rumour will be how many more for Max and is he starting to dominate and in the end it will get boring. I’m not putting any foil on top of my head but former Ferrari man is in charge in form of Domenicali?

  9. Amazing to think about the ups and downs that the engine department in Maranello has gone through in the past few years.

    They were super strong in 2019 (albeit questionable from a legality standpoint), then having to start over in 2020, then to recover some of the power in 2021 despite limited development.. then they come out of the box with a cracker in 2021. That’s just superb!

  10. There was so much talk about who has the right aero, but it was the engine that’s made the biggest impact so far. I find that really interesting.

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